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Curse of the Starving Class

From 185 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking

About the show

Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, this new production of "Curse of the Starving Class" honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017.  More…

Living a stagnant, unhappy existence in rural California, the struggling Tate family is desperate for change, but every family member has a different way of trying to improve their station in life.

Member Reviews (185)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Great staging, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Bleak

See it if you want to see an unrelenting, 1st-rate revival of a work from Shepard's most fertile period that's as gritty, moving & timely as ever.

Don't see it if u seek pure escapism; u don't have the stomach for the relentless dysfunction of this family & the situation they represent in our society.

Well acted & staged, Disappointing, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if Early Shepard (still finding his voice) is problematic yet not w/o its surrealistic beauty esp in fracturing family unit via outside forces

Don't see it if High octane 1st act both in writing & staging turns into stalled 2nd act As imploding famlly looses its chances for escape so does narrative

Clever plotting, Mythic, A little too long, Solid acting, Smart staging

See it if you’d like to see a fine accounting of the play that sent Sam Shepard off in the new direction for which he is best known.

Don't see it if you do not like Sam Shepard’s writing, even at its most “naturalistic”.

Also Confession: I’ve always preferred early Shepard—1-act & bafflingly the... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if Dysfunctional family w/ property value& poverty nipping at their heels attempt to lift their lot to the next level.Massive prologue collapse

Don't see it if Bleak take on breaking through any ceilings. The curse=her first period. Bacon frying lingering. That poor lamb. Vulgarian behaviours.

Also "I'm not dreaming now. I was dreaming then."

Animated but overwrought production of one of shepard's best plays; shows why he is great chronicler of the death of america's frontier

See it if primal & explosive; searing portrait of dysfunctional family in the west ground down by rapacious capitalism/exploitation; hilarious at time

Don't see it if loud, unsubtle production; meanders at times; doesn't always achieve balance btwn realism/surrealism that characterizes Shepard at his best

Also (1) Starving: The sense of "starving" is employed in many ways in this... Read more Read less

Quirky, Edgy, Intelligent, Great staging, Great acting

See it if bold, complicated characters excite you, or you’re tired of conventional shows. The brashness of this play will shake things up for you.

Don't see it if you like shows that play it safe. This production pulls no punches.

Intense, Quirky, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a show-stealing performance by David Warshofsky. Also, if you have never seen a production of this Sam Shepard classic.

Don't see it if your taste runs from light comedies to musicals. This play is intense and edgy.

Great writing, Great acting, Great staging, Clever

See it if You enjoy Sam Shepard. I really do think it’s that simple if you like sam you will like this show

Don't see it if You are looking for a fun and fluffy piece of theater. This is dirty. It’s all about a messed up and dysfunctional family

Also The first 45 seconds of this play are magnificent. I saw this done reg... Read more Read less

Shepard’s farm family goes haywire

See it if Nicely staged. Gilles Geary and David Warshofsky are terrific. Dad’s drunk scene is peerless. Sad and disturbing. And that lamb!

Don't see it if Raw Shepard disturbs you. Not as memorable as the recent “True West,” but incisive and entertaining. And that lamb!

Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like plays about American anxieties, told in bizarre and entertaining ways. Great acting and staging.

Don't see it if you're not a fan of Shepard's overly dramatic style, or don't like funny plays with serious undertones.

Long, Repetitive, Insipid, Disappointing, Dated

See it if You want to catch Maggie Siff . You haven't seen a pithier version.

Don't see it if You have seen a dense, well acted, meaningful production of this play.

Disturbing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you like Sam Shepard's work; surrealistic stories about extremely dysfunctional families, pathos with dark humor, great monologues*

Don't see it if don't want the above or stories of delusional people who are exploited by greedy businessmen

Also *monologues that are poetic, disturbing, moving, especially by David W... Read more Read less

Slow, Overrated

See it if enjoy the Sam Shepard canon then go see this. well acted.

Don't see it if no characters that one really cares about in a one-note play

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Relevant

See it if You are a fan of Sam Shepard’s Americana. Although the acting was well done, this play is quite dark.

Don't see it if You want to see something uplifting. This play is difficult to watch and the conclusion is unsettling.

Slow, Overrated, Indulgent, Excruciating, Disappointing

See it if and ONLY if you are a fan of playwright Sam Shepard's writing.

Don't see it if you are able to get tickets for The Cradle Will Rock, High Button Shoes, or Dying City. Ironically you won't like any of those shows either.

Also I was so miserable, I left at intermission and missed the NAKED male a... Read more Read less

Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You appreciate the plays of Shepard. This one has great scenic design, a sheep in a cage, and urination on the stage.Quirky,with great cast

Don't see it if Unusual play that may not be for everyone. Shepard's plays are never dull or boring.

And food all over, Bleak scenery and f, Early sam shepard! gut wrenching acting

See it if Do you miss early Shepard plays? Food in the dialogue. Food on tables, counters, in the fridge. Food being eaten, thrown, on the floor.

Don't see it if You do not like messy drama, in words, and visuals. Nothing what it seems or as it should be. Or should it?

Slow, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Confusing

See it if You're a fan of Shepard or portrayals dysfunctional families or the rot of American idealism. Great staging and committed acting.

Don't see it if You can't stand symbolism or jagged plots. Some of the acting/monologues are uneven, and I'm not ultimately sure what the play wanted to say

Edgy, Intense, Great acting

See it if you want to see incredible acting or are a Sam Sheppard fan. The play is extremely intense. As a bonus there is a very cute live lamb in it.

Don't see it if dark family dramas upset you. As you can tell by the title it is not an uplifting play. There is also nudity if that bothers you.

Intense, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy great drama, laced with humor performed by an excellent cast. This is about a dysfunctional family trying to get ahead

Don't see it if You can't stand some really gross scenes

Overrated, Great staging, Slow, Banal

See it if are a fan of Sam Sheppard, want to see new interpretation of show, can appreciate symbolism in a show.

Don't see it if You want a "feel good" show, need a show wrapped up neatly, are not a fan of Sam Sheppard, want a fast paced show (this was NOT that show).

Also The beginning of the show has the biggest "Bang". I'm not necessarily ... Read more Read less

Relevant, Slow, Overrated, Funny, Disappointing

See it if You Love Sam Shepard it’s funny and eloquently poetic at times

Don't see it if Uneven acting, Slow, it gets bogged down and loses the impact of the prose and tragedy

Riveting, Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you want to see an edgy, surrealistic drama that challenges convention, in an intimate setting and affordable price

Don't see it if you don't like to see plays that are pretty darn negative, or you want a feel-good night at the theater. This is challenging!

Also In the first few seconds, you are blown away. What seems to be somethi... Read more Read less

Quirky, Warning: naked young man (front&back) appears (welcome to old off-bdwy), Edgy, Maggie siff will be '45' in june, but looks much younger in play (not miscast, just too gorj), Great acting

See it if 20 yrs after its debut, CotSC is still relevant as the scammers go after the unwary (again). Worth seeing for David Warshofsky's perf as dad

Don't see it if If you don't like Sam Shepard plays but are curious, then U could do much worse. If U abhor stage nudity then skip. Gross ref's to animals 2

Overrated, Great writing, Disjointed, Hopeless, Depressing

See it if you want to see Sam Shepard's most autobiographical play in the wonderful Signature Theatre. The lamb is adorable. Everything else is ick.

Don't see it if you want to care about the characters -- some I hated and others didn't understand. It's full of sadness and anger from start to finish.

May 13th, 2019
"Watching the very entertaining first half of Mr. Kinney’s interpretation of 'Curse,' I wondered why it doesn’t come around more often. I had stopped wondering by the end. 'Curse' features some beautiful, signature Shepard writing, in which primal desperation becomes fervid poetry...The plot, tho...
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May 15th, 2019
“Kinney and his cast find memorable moments in Shepard’s darkly satirical play...Time has diminished some...shock value and the Signature’s production doesn’t dig deeply enough into the feeling the play seems to be after: It doesn’t pulse with the agony of stunted existence. But Shepard’s potent ...
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May 13th, 2019
"It should heave and churn with bitter discontent and sloppy ambition, delusion and shame. But it’s a tough, flawed nut, and it’s not profiting from Signature Theatre’s current revival, which mostly plays the unwieldy material straight down the middle. As a result, the play feels diffuse and almo...
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May 13th, 2019
"Shepard's plays are tricky balancing acts. They need to be staged by directors and actors in touch with the late playwright's distinctive, off-kilter vision. That's certainly the case with this production...Kinney could have picked up the pace faster, and the decision to condense the first two a...
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